The Deputy Defense Minister was a guest of the Oz veGaon Preserve in Gush Etzion this morning. There, he was shown the ideological, educational activities that take place at the site, the security needs of the preserve and the concerns that the Shdema Camp in the eastern part of Gush Etzion will be abandoned.
Deputy Defense Minister MK Rav Eli Ben Dahan arrived today (Monday, July 31) for a visit at the preserve in the heart of Gush Etzion, together with the head of Gush Etzion Council, Shlomo Ne’eman.
During the visit, the Deputy Minister planted an olive tree as a symbol of encouraging the momentum of the settlement enterprise and sovereignty in Gush Etzion and in Judea and Samaria in general.
During his visit, the deputy minister was shown the new educational initiative that was launched on the three year anniversary of the Jewish holding at the place, as a joint project with the JNF, the World Zionist Organization, Gush Etzion Council, the Zionist Council of Israel and Women in Green. This initiative, Zionist Avenue, brings youth to the preserve from all parts of the Land of Israel and even from abroad for educational, ideological, Zionist and agricultural activities, which focus on bolstering the preserve and maintaining it. For the length of Zionist Avenue, which is at the heart of the preserve, there are signs with quotations from the great Zionist leaders for the last 120 years, at its inception.
MK Rav Ben Dahan expressed wonder at the initiative, which opened recently on the three year commemoration of the murder of the youths for whom the preserve is named and with the participation of their families. Ben Dahan noted that he intends to bring soldiers to the place as well for zionistic educational programs.
During a meeting that the heads of Women in Green, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, held together with the deputy minister at the preserve, the two women presented him with a request for the support of the Ministry of Defense for security components vital to the public and the strengthening of the preserve which is located not far from hostile Arab villages. Among other things, the need for security cameras, peripheral lighting, fire extinguishing equipment and paving access roads were mentioned, as well as other things.
Also during the meeting with the deputy minister, Katsover and Matar raised the concern regarding an increasing amount of information that the government of Israel intends to transfer the area of the Shdema Camp, which is located between Jerusalem and east Gush Etzion, to the Palestinian Authority. In the past, members of Women in Green were able to prevent the transfer of the area to the Palestinians at the last moment and the place was once again used by the military, assuring Jewish territorial contiguity and safety to the travelers on the areas roads. Katsover and Matar presented the deputy minister with the information that had come to their hands regarding the intention to transfer Shdema as part of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s “carrots and sticks” plan.
The Women in Green movement notes that Minister Lieberman was in the past one of those who came to Shdema and participated in the cultural activities that were held at the place by the movement and its activists. Women in Green also notes that since he himself is a resident of east Gush Etzion, he also enjoys the security that was provided by vital Jewish holding at the place.
In his discussion with Katsover and Matar, the deputy minister promised to raise the aforesaid issues and help to promote them. He also expressed the hope and faith in the next necessary step for holding onto the Land of Israel – “sovereignty over Judea and Samaria”.
Photography: Gershon Ellinson